Hi - a poster on my car's forum recommended I post my question here. The car smelled like this stuff when I was test driving it, but the dealer promised to get it out before I bought it. They did get it out - but then it slowly started coming back. They detailed it again, and the smell was gone for a day or so - and it came back again. At this point, I think a detail shop will have a better chance. I've sprayed Ozium in there 4-5 times and left it overnight but the smell comes back. I also rubbed the seats with baking soda, put buckets of coffee grounds in there, and a ton of other things. This car just reeks. I took off the rear head rests for better visibility, left them in my guest room, and my guest room started smelling like the car. So, some crazy **** is in there. I don't know what it is, though. It's sort of lemon - but like a very chemical / fake lemon smell that sticks to your hair and inside your nose.

The dealer claims they never put any bomb or masking agent in there, and they only use lightly scented shampoo. It's a (generally) well-regarded BMW dealership, so I don't think they are lying - but who knows. The fact the smell is also in the trunk (to an extreme - worse than the cabin) makes me wonder because what person would do that to their trunk? The prior owner did have a pet, based on pet hairs we found. I don't smell any trace of cigarette smoke at all.

A detail shop said they would re-detail it & thought the dealer didn't do a good job (there were sticky spots and white streaks all over the place). So, that's fine. Then, they said they would use an Ozone machine. I am sort of conflicted on that because the EPA says Ozone can create more chemicals by reacting with surfaces, and it does not ever eliminate the source of the odor, which I am afraid is deep into the pores of the seats and everything else (link to article here). Ozone also has an odd smell that lasts for a while too, though not as bad as this. My dealer said they had to stop using the ozone machine because of the complaints about the ozone smell.

Does anyone have experience with something like this or with ozone? I kept my last car for 14 years & loved that car. I can't believe when I finally bought a new car, which even is certified & under warranty still, I have this crazy problem that has been driving me nuts for weeks. Thank you.